Can I write a non-fiction book about a topic in which I am not an expert? Do I need a PhD to be taken seriously? Should I write a book even if I’m not an established professional in my field? These are many of the questions aspiring authors often ask us, and the answer is nothing more and nothing less than yes.
In this article you can find out why not being an expert can be an advantage when writing a non-fiction book and we will also give you five tips so you can learn how to do it.
What is an expert?
Expert: person recognized as a reliable source on a certain topic, technique, or skill, whose ability to judge or decide correctly, balanced, and intelligently, confers authority and status among his or her peers or the public in a specific matter.
Therefore, we see that there is no rule of thumb, such as being in possession of a minimum number of awards or having a minimum number of years of experience to be an expert professional book writers.
If you have gained experience in a field through your passion, and want to share this knowledge and personal advice with the world, then it is time for you to start writing a non-fiction book!
Your vulnerability and authenticity will move your readers
The moment when you feel like you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, everything that exists inside you, showing too much of yourself… That is the moment when you could be starting to get it right. » – Neil Gagman
Readers often find an author’s experiences and advice much more relevant precisely because the author is not a renowned expert, but rather a close person who is in the same place as the reader. In the end, it all comes down to your story and the honesty with which you tell it.
We all have flaws, and our life stories are full of mistakes and mistakes, but also of joy and triumphs. Sharing these moments will be what moves your readers.
It’s not just about you
Of course, what you’re writing will be based on your experience, but the book doesn’t have to be about you at all.
At the end of the day, the reader just wants to improve their life, learn something about what you write, or escape from their life for a while, so ultimately they won’t care about you.
For example, if you want to quit smoking, you can read a lot of books by people who have quit smoking. At the end of the day, you probably won’t remember their names, much less the details of the books, but you will have a clearer idea of how you will feel or have first-hand advice on how to overcome withdrawal symptoms.
Probably the people who wrote these books were obsessed with the veracity of their writing as they were not doctors, psychologists or experts on the subject. But at the end of the day, all you wanted as a reader was not the help of an expert who has never smoked in his life, but the real experience of another smoker, his truth, his journey, and his help.
True or not true? That is the question
Many authors go to great lengths to ensure that their book is 100% objective and correct in every possible way. And since this is impossible, they get blocked and never manage to finish it. Here we have an article about how to overcome writer’s block.
Many types of nonfiction books do not have to be objectively true. For example, this article you are reading is not the definitive guide to writing a nonfiction book. It can’t be, because there are as many ways to write as there are writers and everyone will have a different view of the subject. But all opinions count and you will be helping your readers form their own.
5 tips for writing a nonfiction book
There are a few categories you can choose from when writing a nonfiction book. This includes autobiographies, documentations, specialized books, cookbooks, travel guides and many more. Each category has its own characteristics, but we hope that these 5 tips will be a good guide for you to start your work.
1. How to find the right theme
When we choose the topic we want to write about, we should try to make sure that it is not saturated. The more specific the topic, the less competition our book will have in the market. So you could start with nothing more and nothing less than market research.
This will help you find a topic that suits you, know the target group and above all, keep an eye on the competition.
You should analyze between 5 and 10 books that are similar to the book you want to write, or that are at least aimed at your same audience. A very practical place where you can do this search is on Amazon.
Search for the type of book you want and then look at the subcategories on the left side of the page. You can click on these subcategories and find other books that are on the same topic.
Doing this should help you both find a more specific topic to write about and narrow down your target audience, which we’ll talk about in the next point.
2. Identify your target audience
Are you writing for academics or casual readers? For history buffs? Or do you aim to attract a wider audience and write a bestseller? People often look for nonfiction stories about a shared experience.
Keeping this target audience in mind as you write will allow you to tailor your message and writing style even further.
3. Establish a correct structure for your book
Pulling a coherent story out of a mountain of research or lived experience is no easy task. Think about why. Why do you want to write this particular book? Think about the story carefully and identify exactly what you want to say. Trace the moments that you feel are crucial and that you want to remain etched in the reader’s memory.
A general outline helps to define a chapter for each important main point and to draw a common thread. Above all, take into account the prior knowledge you want your target audience to have. In a first step, formulate the headings of the main chapters so that readers can deduce their content. Next, lay out the detailed structure and subchapters to get an overview of the entire scope of the book.
4. Develop a unique writing style
The writing style is very personal. It must fit the writer, the theme and the audience. It is very useful to analyze the books whose writing style you like and suit you. If you still don’t know what your style is, we have written a blog Ghostwriters For Hire with tips to help you develop your own writing style.
Write briefly and they will read you. Write clearly, they will understand you. Write figuratively and you will be remembered – Joseph Pulitzer
5. Set goals that are manageable
You can try to write 500 to 1,000 words a day, for example. Always depending on what you want to achieve, of course. Meeting this quota of words will help you not leave everything overnight. Don’t let anything stop you from reaching your goal, not procrastination, not writer’s block.
If you’re waiting for someone to give you permission to start writing your nonfiction book, here it is. You have permission to write your book. Stop dreaming about what could be. Get over yourself, go and write!
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